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Over 260 food industry professionals from Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Kazakhstan and other countries joined the online broadcast of the XII Food Forum on November 26. The Forum 2020 focused on the new reality all industry players have had to adapt to due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SGS Academy being the organizer of the Food Forum for the 12th consecutive year took the decision that regardless of the pandemic the Forum would take place in any circumstances. That is why the event went online. 

The presentations and discussions were broadcast online from a TV studio located in Moscow. The online platform included chat and survey functionalities. Thanks to this, viewers were able to fully participate, as if they were present at an offline event. The forum was moderated by TV presenter Yulia Prokhorova, who contributed to the dynamic flow of the event and throughout the day encouraged speakers to share their expertise in a lively and relaxed manner. 

The event was opened by Nadezhda Raeva, Head of Food Hygiene Supervision at the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) in the Moscow Region. Her report featured regulatory changes in food quality and safety happening in 2020. Particular attention was paid to statutory inspection procedures. Mrs Raeva spoke about most common violations of coronavirus prevention measures. After the presentation delegates asked many questions, most of which Nadezhda Raeva managed to answer during the live broadcast. 

The presentation by Jules Rocher, Senior Technical Advisor at FSSC 22000, who connected to the broadcast from the Netherlands, was met with as much interest. He spoke in detail about innovations in the FSSC 22000 scheme as a result of the version 5.1 published on November 3, 2020. Major changes related although not limited to the FSSC 22000 additional requirements. Starting from April 1, 2021 all FSSC 22000 audits shall be conducted against the new version of the scheme. Due to the pandemic, the transition period for version 5.0 has been extended until March 31, 2021. Jules also explained how to use split or full remote audits for FSSC 22000 certification, options which only became possible in the current year. 

During the Forum, two panel discussions took place. The first one was devoted to risk management in a force majeure context. Votes by delegates and practices shared by speakers confirmed that an operating risk management system enables organizations not only to overcome a crisis, but also to grow business despite turbulent context. Experts from PepsiCo, Cherkizovo Group, SPLAT Global and SGS shared their observations and practices of how to apply the risk-based approach. 

The second panel discussion was dedicated to supply chain continuity during a pandemic. Speakers from METRO Cash & Carry, Globus, Sodexo, Mars and SGS discussed interactions with suppliers, changes in business processes and quarantine lessons. Additional control points that have emerged due to the pandemic, as well as new inspection formats were in focus of the discussion. Remote audits have become especially relevant in the current situation, and experts shared lifehacks on how to avoid window dressing and make remote audits objective.

In addition, during the entire event delegates could visit virtual exhibition booths and learn more about the innovative food safety solutions by Sartorius (quality control solutions: scales, filtration, water, dispensers), bioMerieux (solutions for microbiological control) and PCG (products for pest control).

Remarkably enough, the Forum’s discussions revealed a whole set of positive aspects of the new reality, namely some tools that became operational thanks to the pandemic. The general conclusion was to take advantage of these new opportunities to further enhance quality and food safety.

The SGS Academy’s team is happy to get the numerous testimonials from delegates about the event being useful and inspirational and the tradition of conducting annual Food Forums not being broken.

ABOUT SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 89,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.